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Severe Weather Information

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Severe Weather Information

As Oklahoma enters another severe weather season, Norman Regional would like to address the attempted use of our hospital's parking garage as a shelter during the threat of a hailstorm or possible tornado. While we understand the instinct to seek refuge in a sturdy structure during severe weather events, it's crucial to remember the purpose and limitations of our parking garage.

On April 1, 2024, during the threat of severe weather, Norman Regional Security officers encountered nearly 300 people seeking shelter in the hospital parking garage. This is a newly built garage. It opened in July 2023 and is located at 3300 HealthPlex Parkway in Norman.

While we empathize with the need for safety, we must emphasize that the parking garage is not designed or equipped to serve as a public shelter. Lessons learned from previous events in our state and across the country highlight several challenges and risks associated with using a parking garage as a shelter.

One of our primary concerns is the potential impact and aftermath of a destructive tornado in our community. In such an event, access to the parking garage would be essential for impacted victims and their families. However, our parking garage is not designed or equipped to serve as a public shelter. It lacks the necessary accommodations, such as emergency supplies, seating, and restroom facilities, to safely accommodate a large number of people during such an emergency.

Furthermore, seeking shelter in the hospital parking garage would hinder the access of emergency vehicles and hospital staff, potentially impeding critical medical care and response efforts.

In light of these considerations, we strongly encourage all community members to develop a personal emergency plan and identify designated public shelters in their area. Local emergency management agencies can provide information about safe shelters and evacuation routes in the event of severe weather, and we urge everyone to utilize these resources during severe weather events.

Please remember that the hospital parking garage is intended for the use of patients, visitors, and staff accessing medical care, and we kindly ask for your cooperation in keeping it accessible for its intended purpose.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.